Insect Bites

The children are outside, and so are the insects! Here are some helpful hints to help deal with pesky insects:

  • Many insect bites can be prevented by applying an insect repellent sparingly to the clothing or exposed skin prior to going outdoors. See Your Child's Health for tips on precautions with DEET insect repellents.
  • Bites of mosquitoes, chiggers, fleas, and bedbugs usually cause itchy red bumps. The size of the swelling following a mosquito bite means very little. For itchy bumps, apply calamine lotion or over the counter hydrocortisone cream in 0.5% or 1% strength. Use cool compresses to decrease itching and encourage your children not to scratch.
  • Bites of horseflies, deerflies, sand flies, gnats, fire ants, centipedes, etc. can cause painful red bumps. Often rubbing the bite area with a cotton ball soaked in meat-tenderizer-and water solution helps to reduce the pain. Alternatives include an ice cube or ammonia rubbed on the area.
  • Tick bites: A tick is an insect that attaches to skin and sucks blood. Tick bites are often painless. The best way to prevent transmission of tick-born illnesses is to do a "whole body" tick inspection every night, if your child has been playing outside. For more information, see Your Child's Health.

Katie Baker, DO, FAAP